Six new members to bring expertise to Emerging Stronger Taskforce

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (centre), chairman of the Future Economy Council, which oversees the task force, speaking to the media yesterday, with members of the Emerging Stronger Taskforce.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (centre), chairman of the Future Economy Council, which oversees the task force, speaking to the media yesterday, with members of the Emerging Stronger Taskforce.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Six new members have been appointed to the task force charting Singapore's economic recovery post-Covid-19 to bring in new perspectives as the team explores new areas of growth.

The newcomers to the Emerging Stronger Taskforce (EST), which will now have 23 members in total, include Ms Jessie Yeo, executive secretary of the Singapore Port Workers Union and human resource director at the National Trades Union Congress.

"The work of the EST is important as it will have a direct impact on our workers and the skills that they will need to thrive in the future economy," she said at a press conference yesterday, adding that she looks forward to building on its work and providing her perspective on jobs and skills.

Under the task force are seven Alliances for Action (AfAs) - industry-led coalitions tasked to devise ideas and generate jobs in areas such as sustainability, robotics and education technology.

Another new appointee, conservation science, technology and policy expert Koh Lian Pin, will join the AfA on sustainability.

The director of the Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions at the National University of Singapore said the task force aims to build a sustainability hub and create an ecosystem for players from different sectors, such as the built environment, renewable energy, agriculture, waste management and finance.

"What we hope to achieve is to identify new economic opportunities that could help to build Singapore's climate resilience and resource resilience, as well as to protect and preserve our natural ecosystems," said Professor Koh.

Announcing the additions yesterday, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said: "They will bring new and diverse contributions to the work of the EST, especially in areas of opportunity that the AfAs are pursuing, such as sustainability and medtech."

The other newcomers are Mr Amos Leong, president and chief executive officer of Univac Group; Mr Andrew Kwan, founder and group managing director of Commonwealth Capital; Dr Azlinda Anwar, director of grants and intellectual property administration and coordinating director of Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory; and Dr Fidah Alsagoff, joint head of the Enterprise Development Group and head of life sciences at Temasek International.

The task force, which was announced by MTI in May, had drawn criticisms that it lacked representation in terms of gender, minority groups and vulnerable communities, among others.

An open letter calling for more diverse representation and signed by more than 45 individuals was submitted to the Government in June.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee, who co-chairs the task force with PSA International group chief executive officer Tan Chong Meng, said yesterday that the new members were added due to their expertise in new growth areas identified during discussions.

Mr Lee said: "The growth of the EST is a result of the opportunities that we have identified and want to seize. For example, we have brought in new members who will be able to help us drive medtech, to be able to push on our AfA on sustainability, in particular on nature-based solutions.

"So, while we hoist on board people's suggestions that the EST needs to be more diverse, we grow our diversity in order to achieve the outcomes that we seek to achieve."

Mr Lee noted that the task force operates under the Future Economy Council, and that the council and its subcommittees "are diverse and tripartite in nature".

The other 15 EST members are: Mr Caesar Sengupta, vice-president of payments and Next Billion Users at Google; Ms Dilys Boey, assistant chief executive officer of Enterprise Singapore; Mr Edmund Koh, president of UBS Asia Pacific of UBS Group and UBS and member of the UBS group executive board; Mr Gan Seow Kee, chairman and managing director of ExxonMobil Asia Pacific; Ms Kwee Wei-Lin, president of the Singapore Hotel Association and head of hotels for Pontiac Land Group; Mr Lee Chee Koon, group CEO of CapitaLand; Mr Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of Changi Airport Group; Mr Lim Ming Yan, chairman of the Singapore Business Federation; Dr Loo Choon Yong, executive chairman and co-founder of Raffles Medical Group; Mr Peter Ho, CEO of Hope Technik; Mr Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Group; Mr Sunny Verghese, co-founder and group CEO of Olam International; Mr Tan Chin Hwee, CEO for Asia Pacific at Trafigura; Mr Vincent Chong, president and CEO of ST Engineering; and Mr Ye Gang, co-founder and group chief operating officer of Seagroup.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2020, with the headline 'Six new members to bring expertise to Emerging Stronger Taskforce'. Subscribe